There are people who just cannot get enough of seafood, and I have to admit I am one of them. I could happily live the rest of my life as a piscivore. Occasionally I know I might have an irresistible atavistic craving for meat, triggered by the smokey aroma of a lamb cutlet or thick steak on the grill, or the sight of roast pork with its blistered crackling, especially Philippine roast suckling pig known as lechon in its mahogany-lacquered gorgeousness. I have friends — vegetarians for decades — who waiver, whimpering helplessly, at the whiff of bacon cooking to a crisp. All things considered I would be more than content on a diet of deliciousness from the sea. There is so much variety that I don’t believe I would ever tire of prawns, calamari, octopus, shellfish of all kinds from mussels to oysters and razor clams, crabs, lobsters, and of course uni. And I haven’t even mentioned seaweeds, of which there is also an overwhelmingly diverse variety. One of the attractions of Chile as one of my dream destinations is that its coasts have such a rich stock of seafood that is rarely seen or eaten elsewhere. And, equally important, it has brilliant wines to partner with them.
I met a very dear friend for lunch recently and it was a joy to know that we both share an almost insatiable appetite for these delights from the sea. With a glass of wine – white for me, red for her – we rolled back the decades that we hadn’t seen each other as we talked and reminisced of this and that, as we savoured a bite of crisp calamari and a bite of a sweetly succulent mussel. And at the end, we couldn’t resist sopping up the remaining briney, winey essences — slightly peppery from red chili — with some hearty crusty bread.
A sunny day, the sea in sight, a lovely leisurely lunch, great company, and the joy of rekindling an affectionate friendship – these are things to be enormously grateful for.
It is truly a blessing to have loving friendships that endure over time and distance, and to pick up where you’d left off, even though it was decades ago. I shall repeat some sage advice that Hemingway is alleged to have said: Keep your friends, hold on to your friends. Don’t lose your friends. Advice worth repeating several times over, and I most definitely and heartily agree.
And now, a question — why do friendships endure, but romantic relationships not? Or do they? There’s a puzzle for you.